MORE U.S. TREACHERY; SAA LIBERATES 2000 SQ.KMS IN DAYR EL-ZOR; TERRORISTS USE ZIONIST TACTICS TO BURN TREES IN QUNAYTRA; SAA REINFORCEMENTS DEVASTATE RATS IN SUWAYDAA’ – By Ziad Fadel

DAYR EL-ZOR: A large number of towns and villages were liberated the day before yesterday by the Syrian Army from ISIS residual elements.  It was the result of a swift and sudden attack aimed at areas southwest of Al-Mayaadeen in which a confirmed 61 rodents were either killed or wounded.  The numbers are based on an actual on-site assessment since the terrorists had no ability to remove their casualties.  Many of the wounded were taken prisoner and interrogated. All will be tried before a military court.

An area of 2000 square kilometers was completely deloused on the road between Al-Ward Field, Al-Mu’ayzila, Tammaah, and Faydhat Ibn Muwaynis along a 40 km axis.  As I write, the SAA is still dismantling a network of IEDs, mines and other booby-traps laid by the escaping terrorists.  It was interesting to note, that the remaining rodents sped away to the American-protected Al-Tanf area.

Al-Hirri:  For the umpteenth time, the United States was spotted attacking pro-government militias fighting ISIS and moving ever-closer to the Al-Tanf area.  This time, it occurred at Al-Hirri, a few kilometers southeast of Al-Bu-Kamaal close to the crossing at Al-Qaa’im.  The groups hit were Hizbollah of Iraq and Sayyid Al-Shuhadaa` Brigades.  The actual number of dead militiamen is not known, but, according to Monzer in Damascus, it exceeds 20.  The Iraqi government, a so-called ally of the U.S. in the fight against ISIS, first broke the news as American warplanes fired missiles at the military force right in front of Iraqi Army soldiers stationed on the eastern side of Al-Qaa`im.

As many of you have read, the U.S. has now made it clear that it is American policy to stay in the area so that Iran cannot build a passageway to Lebanon.  This was announced by an American State Department apparatchik before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  The U.S. does not care any longer about international law.

____________________________________________

QUNAYTRA: 

احباط محاولة تسلل ارهابيين من أطراف أم باطنة بريف القنيطرة باتجاه بلدة جبا وتل كروم جبا

Zionist and American-supported cockroaches of the Nusra criminal enterprise went on a rampage near the forests of Jubaathaa Al-Khashab by starting fires aimed at destroying orchards on tens of acres of cherries, figs and apples at Hadhar Village.  Many of the trees were 20 years old.  Strong winds and terrorists made it impossible to put out the fires. This is precisely the same policy practiced by the stinking Zionist cockroaches of Occupied Palestine who are known to attack and destroy olive trees which have been on Arab soil for more than one hundred years.

Umm Baatina:  In Central Qunaytra Province, the Syrian Army foiled an attempted infiltration by Nusra grubs in the direction of Jibba and Tal Kuroom.  The Syrian Army confirmed killing or wounding 12 rodents.  Many were seen heading to Zionist medical facilities for treatment.

________________________________________________

DER’AH:  Syria’s new Minister of Defense, former Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen.  ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Ayyoob, met with officers of the SAA just north of Der’ah and reviewed troop preparations before the anticipated frontal assault on Der’ah City which is expected to be relatively easy.  The population of Der’ah is no longer hostile to the government having learned how futile their so-called “revolution” was and how virulent the terrorist organizations had become.

_______________________________________________

SUWAYDAA’:  It should be obvious now to the American invaders at Al-Tanf that the Syrian Army is planning to uproot them much sooner than later.  At Al-Kiraa’, Al-Hassaa and Al-Safaa in the southern province of Suwaydaa’, the SAA has sent in huge reinforcements fighting ISIS elements in the area.  Once the area has been cleared, it is expected that the force will move eastward to Al-Tanf.  The reinforcements are, significantly, from units of the Syrian Army’s special forces and Division 62.  Hundreds of troops from the Popular Defense Committees are also a part of the force.

The force will start out at Tal Asfar and Al-‘Awra where the SAA has restructured its bases after 3 days of annihilating ISIS.  ISIS only controls a few pockets in the Suwaydaa’ Desert regions inside extremely rugged terrain, hence, the arrival of special operations units.  The SAA will be operating on three axes:

The first is Tal Asfar to Khirbat Al-Umbaashi to Suh Al-Majeedi (after the SAA liberated the Al-Ashrafiyya School and Al-Ruhba);

The second is at Al-Qassr to Al-Saaqiya to Khirbat Al-Umbaashi and then eastward about 7 kms.

The third is Al-Zuluf to Tulool Al-Safaa, about 10 kms to the north.

_____________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

John Esq. sent us this nice article about a ferocious new Russian weapon:

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russias-new-terminator-tank-might-be-able-kill-one-americas-26254

As the G-7 Implodes, SCO Meeting Confirms the New Century of Multipolarity – ByFederico PIERACCINI (STRATEGIC CULTURAL ORGANISATION)

As the G-7 Implodes, SCO Meeting Confirms the New Century of Multipolarity

The historical changes we are witnessing have never been so evident as in the last few days. The G7 summit highlighted the limits of the Atlantic alliance, while the SCO meeting opens up unprecedented possibilities for Eurasian integration.

At the G7 meeting in Canada in recent days, we witnessed unprecedented clashes between Trump and G7 leaders over the imposition of tariffs on trade. We must now conclude that the event has been relegated to irrelevance, as the G7 has heretofore derived its clout from speaking as one voice. Trump even went further, refusing to sign the final draft of the organization’s joint statement after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau lashed out at Trump’s trade decisions. Trump showed how little he cares for his allies, leaving the summit a day early to arrive early for the meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore to make preparations for the long-awaited encounter between the two leaders.

In terms of geopolitical contrasts, it is easy to highlight the differences that have been seen between the G7 meeting and the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), held in China and, for the first time, including India and Pakistan as new members. While Putin and Xi met and exchanged praises and medals to celebrate the Sino-Russian strategic relationship as well as their personal friendship, Merkel and the various leaders of the G7 were in animated discussion with Trump over his “America first” policies hurting EU member states economically.

Returning for a moment to Trump’s escape from the G7 (also to avoid further clashes with his “allies”), it should be remembered that in this shifting puzzle of international relations, Assad was poised to meet with Kim Jong-un right on the eve of the US-DPRK summit. Whether or not the meeting between the leaders of Syria and the DPRK will go ahead, it nevertheless confirms the alliance between Pyongyang and Damascus, underlining how adversaries of the US still try to coordinate and manage between themselves their approaches to Washington’s policies of chaos.

Clearly both Putin and Xi have every interest in seeing Trump and Kim Jong-un reach an agreement. But at the same time, they are well aware of the situation in the Middle East and Iran that risks plunging the whole region into unprecedented chaos. Putin and Xi are clearly trying to manage the chaos emerging from Washington, as are Assad and Kim in their own own way. In this sense, the repeated aid of Russia and Iran to Qatar is part of a Sino-Russo-Iranian strategy to contain the chaos created by Washington, which has even extended to the Gulf states with the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar. In this regard, even Berlin is beginning to be enticed by the opportunities for the European Union beckoning from the east, this temptation made stronger by the reality that the Atlanticist relationship is hurting Europe through the tariffs and penalties imposed on American geopolitical opponents like Iran.

European companies have suffered major economic losses as a result of Trump’s suspension of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with European companies facing US sanctions should they continue to do business with Iran. This is only the latest example of undue pressure being placed on the energy strategy of sovereign countries that are theoretically allied to the US. In the same way, the sanctions placed on the Nord Stream 2 project are further widening the cracks in the Atlantic alliance.

To understand the level of disorder within Europe, the North Atlantic and the Middle East, it is enough to consider the attack on Mohammed bin Salman almost two months ago, with Israel on the one hand boasting about agreements with Iran for a mutual abstention in the Daraa affaire and Trump finding nothing better to do than to break every alliance in sight through his commencement of a trade war.

It is clear that the old unipolar order no longer exists and that we now find ourselves in a multipolar situation, courtesy of the isolationist direction of the United States. This enables the further smoothening of existing divergence between nations in Asia, the Middle East and part of Europe.

Europe has the opportunity to use Trump’s “America First” policy as a pivot to expand its network of relationships and convergence of interests with more countries outside of the EU or NATO. For once, the EU could use the weapon of its union of many moderately powerful countries to increase its negotiating power with the United States.

But the reality is very different at the moment, with Europe being in the middle of an internal struggle that has been ongoing for some time now. The wave of new “populist” parties, both of the right and left, has served as a repository for an inevitable transfer of votes following the disasters of the unipolar period (1989-2014). This has also upset the previous balance of power within the European elites.

The root causes of this “populist” political change lie in the new multipolar world order that has had a ripple effect on the policies of individual European countries.

The neoliberal ideology, broadly acquiesced to by the “left”, has remained anchored to the diktat of the “old” unipolar world order, which saw Washington as the only hegemonic force.

What remains in the European political landscape seems to be divided into two streams. On the one side, there is a minority clearly eyeing a sort of neoconservatism 2.0, a sort of rehash of Reaganism. On the other side, there is a complete rejection of any of the faces currently participating in the political system.

For Europe it is a question of seeing what this new political phase will produce with regard to international issues like the sanctions against Russia and Iran. The behavior of European governments will give an idea of the extent to which they intend to obtain some sort of independence in conducting multipolar relations that are not necessarily linked to Washington.

In a sense, Berlin, London, Paris and Rome are now at the center of the concept of multipolar relationships. It is interesting to look at how strategists and newspaper editorialists in China and Russia look at what is going on in Europe, particular in Italy. While there is trust, there is also the awareness that there is still a European reluctance to favor development towards the East at the expense of relations with the US.

The take-home message that Trump seems to be giving Europeans is that it is pointless for them to remain as butlers who wait on Washington. We are living in a defining moment that will shape the the near-term future of vast areas of the world. There are many situations that are moving forward, bringing us closer to the moment where the West will either find common ground or splinter. Factors hitherto appearing unrelated are now serving to have different countries coalesce into a common destiny.

The summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un will lay the groundwork that will reveal whether Washington really wants to start talking or is only buying for time. Given the recent behavior and attitude of Trump and the political figures around him, the summit, like the foreign policy of Trump’s administration in general, becomes unpredictable and difficult to decipher. If there is one thing that unites the leaders of the G7, the SCO and Kim Jong-un, it is precisely the difficulty of relating to a declining world power and a leader who has no strategic vision; the common suffering stemming from an internal struggle within the United States to impose upon the world its antiquated and declining strategic vision.

Pompeo: US Will ‘Not Allow Iran to Develop a Nuclear Weapon’ – By SPUTNIK

A Ghadr-H missile, center, a solid-fuel surface-to-surface Sejjil missile and a portrait of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are displayed at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran

© AP Photo / Vahid Salemi

US

Get short URL
8214

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States is monitoring media reports about Iran’s plans to build up its nuclear capacity, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

“We’re watching reports that Iran plans to increase its enrichment capacity,” Pompeo wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday. “We won’t allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran is aware of our resolve.”

Iranian state media reported earlier in the day that the government has ordered to start operations to boost uranium enrichment in light of the recent US decision to re-impose sanctions on Tehran.

Pompeo called Iran’s actions another representation of Tehran’s “foolishly squandering its resources.” Therefore, protests in the country come as no surprise, the US secretary of state concluded.US President Donald Trump announced in May that the United States would pull out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump also decided to restore wide-ranging sanctions on Iran, including secondary sanctions against financial institutions of third countries doing business with Tehran.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, the European Union and the P5+1 group of countries — China, Germany, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.The deal stipulated the gradual lifting of the anti-Iranian sanctions in exchange for Tehran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

Russia’s Growing Influence in Sub-Saharan Africa – By Arkady SAVITSKY (Strategic Culture Foundation)

Russia’s Growing Influence in Sub-Saharan Africa
Arkady SAVITSKY | 05.06.2018 | WORLD / Africa

Rwanda wants to buy Russian air defense systems. The issue was discussed during the visit of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to that country on June 3. The Rwandan security forces already use helicopters, small arms and Ural Typhoon mine-resistant armored trucks produced in Russia.

Moscow has recently ramped up its military assistance to the Central African Republic (CAR) upon the request of the country’s government. Last month, Russian President Putin met CAR’s President Faustin Archange Touadera in St. Petersburg to hold talks on boosting bilateral ties, including military cooperation. It’s done in strict compliance with international law. In December 2017, the UN Security Council approved a deal allowing Russia to send arms and military instructors to that crisis-hit country. The UN was provided with the serial numbers of the transferred weapons to enable international observers to track them. The arms deliveries are gratuitous.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a traditional ally of the West, has begun shifting its foreign policy priorities looking for other partners. Last month, the DR Congo’s government announced its decision to revive the 1999 military agreement with Russia. It wants Moscow to deliver armament and train military personnel of the DRC. It also hopes to expand the bilateral economic cooperation, covering the mineral production, agriculture and humanitarian contacts.

In 2017, Russia signed a $1 billion defence cooperation agreements with Angola and Nigeria. Moscow and Luanda are in talks on increasing the scope of military ties.

Russian Rosoboronexport has long-term relations with Angola, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and several other sub-Saharan nations that include arms sales and equipment maintenance. Since 2013, the construction of service centers has been in full swing. In 2017, Russian weapons were delivered to the following sub-Saharan African nations: Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, and Angola (Su-30K jets). A contract was confirmed with Equatorial Guinea for purchase of Pantsyr-S1 air defense systems. In August 2017, Burkina Faso ordered two Mi-171 helicopters. Russia is the leading arms importer to the region, accounting for 30% of all supplies.

Russia’s weapons are in high demand being cheap and effective as has been proven by their use during the Syrian conflict. The thriving military cooperation goes hand in hand with developing ties in other areas. Trade with African countries located south of the Sahara desert was $3.6 billion in 2017. For comparison, it was $3.3 billion in 2016 and $2.2 billion in 2015. Russia is involved in exploration, mining, and energy projects. ALROSA, a diamond-mining company, operates in Angola, South Africa, Sierra Leone and Namibia. The talks are on the way to reach an agreement with the African partners to avoid double taxation and protect intellectual property.

Transport and agriculture are promising areas for joint projects. The construction of nuclear science centers in Zambia and Nigeria, as well as a nuclear power plant in South Africa, a BRICS member, are on the talks’ agenda. In April, the government of Sudan invited Russia to take part in its energy projects. Khartoum and Moscow enjoy special relationship. Last year, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir asked the Russian president for “protection from the aggressive acts of the United States.” 28 out of 55 African nations have growing trade with Russia. Cooperation with Ghana, Tanzania has promising future. Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe are historical friends with experience of doing business with Russian partners. The relations with the African Union are considered in Moscow as an issue of special importance.

In March, FM Lavrov toured Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Ethiopia to boost multifaceted relationships. The same month, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was signed to open new horizons for economic cooperation. In January, the Single African Air Transport Market was launched to be made even more attractive with coming in force of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, the right of Establishment and the Right of Residence. Russian businessmen will get more information on new opportunities when they visit the first Intra-African Trade Fair to take place in Cairo on December 11-17, 2018. The program of Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) held in May included special sessions on business and investment opportunities within the framework of the “Russia – Africa Business Dialogue.” The SPIEF-2018 held two special celebrations to mark Africa Day and the 55th anniversary of the African Union.

The US influence in the sub-Saharan Africa is on the wane. In contrast, Russia is making strides to strengthen its position in the region. President Vladimir Putin announced the policy of boosting ties with the region in 2006 when he visited Sub-Saharan Africa. He kept his word. The region has become an essential vector for the foreign policy of Russia, which is becoming another major player on the continent.

Save

Over 70 Syrian tribal leaders form coalition to expel illegal US and French forces from Syria – By SPUTNIK

syrian tribal leaders coalition june 2018

The tribal leaders announced the formation of a popular resistance unit that will fight alongside the Syrian Arab Army in a bid to liberate all Syrian lands and all foreign forces in Syria.

The presence of US troops in Syria is escalating tensions between government forces and the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with some politicians and Syrian Army officers accusing the SDF of serving as “puppets” for the US and other western powers.

In excess of 70 Syrian tribal leaders met in the Aleppo Governorate, specifically the city of Deir Hafer, over the weekend to discuss plans and coordinate with one another to remove US forces from Syria, Al-Masdar News reported on Sunday.

Via a joint statement, the tribes, which are predominately Sunni Muslims, announced the formation of a coalition to oust US and French military personnel from Syria, in addition to liberating territory held by the SDF, provided Damascus is unable to negotiate a reconciliation deal with them.

#حسين_مرتضى The Syrian clans announce the formation of resistance factions to confront the American, French and Turkish occupation.
The tribesmen also reportedly discussed the prospect of fighting Turkish forces in northwestern Syria.

The different tribes hail from various parts of Syria which are currently occupied by US-backed forces, including the oil-rich provinces of Deir ez-Zor and al-Hasakah.

Although there’s been some low-level, sporadic clashes and attacks on SDF bases in northern Syria in recent months, particularly in the Raqqa Governorate, where the Popular Resistance of Raqqa (PRoR) operates, we are yet to see the[m] launch a widescale, continuous anti-SDF operation, by either the Syrian Army or local militiamen.

However, in a recent interview with RT, President Bashar al-Assad warned that a widescale anti-SDF offensive would be launched if negotiations fail.

In the meantime, the Syrian Army is mobilizing and deploying forces to southern Syria ahead of a major offensive in the Deraa government, where militants control a large chunk of territory, including parts of the provincial capital.

Last Friday, a military source confirmed to Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem that Hezbollah troops and other Iran-backed militiamen won’t be involved in the offensive, likely as part of an acceptable compromise reached with Israel via Russian mediators.

Comment: See also:

A View from the Rubble of Sana’a: What Happens When an Airstrike Hits Your Street – by Ahmed Abdulkareem (MINT PRESS)

SANA’A, YEMEN — The late morning sun conspired with a cloudless blue sky to frame the Al Tahir commercial district here in a shimmering champagne glow. With the noon hour approaching, swatches of life unfurl like images in a Diego Rivera mural: Al Qasr Street begins to swell with cars, courier trucks and bicycles, while pedestrians trickle into the appliance stores,  cafes and pharmacies that sit in the shadow of the presidential palace.

A motorist, Ibrahim Abdulkareem, heads to the hospital where his wife — badly injured in a Saudi airstrike that destroyed his home and killed his two-year-old son — is scheduled for yet another surgery. A 13-year-old boy with a mop of thick black hair, Amin Al Wazi, sits listless and cross-legged against a wall, hoping to earn a few bucks by offering the use of his digital blue bathroom scale for a small donation. The child has been a fixture on the street for months, since his family arrived in this capital city after fleeing the Saudi aerial attacks in western Yemen.

Suddenly, a plane’s loud whirring pierces Al Tahir’s preoccupied hum, followed by a deafening explosion, and then another, a few minutes later. When finally the thick black smoke begins to dissipate, Abdulkareem climbs from his car to discover that the orderly streetscape has been transformed into a hellish scene, like some overwrought imagining of Dante: roughly five football fields of thick, choking dust, smoldering shops, mangled metal, and charred corpses buried under mountains of rubble. Anguished moans and screams fill the air like an aria of grief and pain.

“Do not gather,” warn the paramedics rushing to the scene to warn against the Saudi tactic of “double-tapping,” intended to inflict maximum damage. “The Saudi airplanes will come back.”

Abdulkareem ignores their admonition and climbs from his car, rushing to help.

“Do not worry, you will be fine!” he assures the first casualty he stumbles upon, an elderly man sitting in a heap of twisted metal and shattered glass. His legs have been shorn off in the blast, and Abdulkareem hopes that his lie will provide the dying man with some comfort in his final moment. He helps rescue workers load the body into an ambulance where the man draws his last breath.

Across the street, men pull Al Wazi’s lifeless body from a pile of rubble. “It is him,” shouts a shopkeeper, his face covered with soot and dust. “It is the boy of the digital scale; he is dead.”

The boy and his weigh scale were fixtures on Al Qasr Street since he and his family moved here months ago from western Yemen after an airstrike at a Yemen wedding party left more than 85 civilians dead, including his father.

Come rain or shine, the cold of winter or the searing heat of a Yemen summer, he was there at first light to eke out something resembling a living for himself and his family. The nearby shopkeepers erupt in anger at the discovery of his body, and curse the Saudis who accuse Houthi rebels of being proxies of their historic rival, Iran.  

“He was no Iranian expert,” cries out Ali Ahmed, the owner of a nearby restaurant, as he scrambles past capsized plastic white tables and splintered blue tiles. “He is a young boy; he was no Houthi leader. Are we carrying a missile ballistic platform? Are the civilians from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards or Hezbollah?”

 

Predictable death by air and sea

Gawad Awad, a severely malnourished Yemeni 4-month-old, lies in the lap of his mother, Heba Ahmed, in the Al-Sadaqa Hospital in Aden, Yemen, this Feb. 13, 2018 photo. Gawad weighed 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds). Aden’s hospital is the best supplied in southern Yemen, but many of the other hospitals around the south are short of supplies and under staff, and families with starving children can’t afford to make the trip to Aden. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)

Since this war began in 2015, Saudi airstrikes in this tiny nation on the Red Sea have become almost as predictable as the tide. And, combined with a suffocating blockade of Yemen’s ports, children here are more likely to die before their 18th birthday than anywhere else in the world. In November 2017, Save the Children estimated that as many as 130 children were dying every day in Yemen, and more than 50,000 children died over the calendar year.

In December 2016, UNICEF reported that a child dies every 10 minutes from preventable diseases such as diarrhea, malnutrition and respiratory tract infections. And the U.K.-based NGO Disasters and Emergencies Committee’s recent report put the number of preventable deaths at 10,000.

That, Yemenis say, is not a coincidence. Ignored by the Western media and unseen by the rest of the world, the Saudis abide by few rules of war, in their attempt to ethnically cleanse this nation of 27 million people, and clear a path for Western powers to seize control of its mineral resources and its ports that are a gateway to the Arab world, Europe and Asia.

Speaking at a news conference in the Geneva, Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that April has been the deadliest month this year so far with a sharp increase in civilian casualties in Yemen.

Increasingly, the UN asserts, the attacks are in densely populated areas, such as the one here in Sana’a targeting the presidential palace. The Saudi airstrikes also raise questions about whether the Saudis are adhering to the legal principle of proportional response so often violated by Israel’s use of sophisticated drones and other weaponry to retaliate against Palestinians for launching World War I-era rockets, many of which land harmlessly.

The airstrike here that killed Amin Al Wazi left another nine civilians dead and 82 more injured, but it was fairly unremarkable for all but those who lived through it.

 

Bombers see a puff of smoke, a father sees the bloodied corpse of his child

Ibrahim has seen worse. In 2015, he lost his infant daughter in an airstrike, the same one that left his wife badly injured and in need of surgery on the day of the airstrikes on the presidential palace.

The night of that airstrike, Ibrahim, an engineer, told MintPress he awoke to the sound of his wife screaming. She was pinned under the rubble of their collapsed walls. His two-year-old daughter was completely buried under plaster and stone. Ibrahim told MintPress it took hours to dig out first his wife, and then his daughter from the rubble, and remove the shrapnel from the girl’s tiny body.

Said Ibrahim:

I did not give up; her blood was dripping on my clothes as I ran to (the) hospital hoping to see her smile again. Doctors were trying to bring her back to life but it was too late. I fainted to the floor.”

Top Photo | People inspect the rubble of homes destroyed by Saudi airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Aug. 25, 2017. (AP/Hani Mohammed)

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News and local Yemeni media.

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

Pleasing Investors at the Expense of the People, Argentina Sells out to the IMF – By Jon Jeter (MINT PRESS)

Latin America

President Mauricio Macri has put the country back on the neoliberal path with policies that favor big agricultural producers inside the country, and investors both inside and outside of Argentina.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — Days before Christmas of 2001, a 54-year-old Argentine woman named Norma Cecilia Albino shoved her way past the throngs of demonstrators protesting the government’s new banking restrictions, walked into a bank branch in a northern Buenos Aires neighborhood, strolled to the counter, and asked to withdraw a few pesos from her account.

When the cashier explained to Albino that she’d already reached her limit and would not be able to withdraw more until the following month, Albino calmly rumbled through her purse for a bottle of alcohol, doused herself with it, and then, to the horror of a nation, set herself ablaze inside the bank lobby.

Albino survived after bank employees rushed to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher and clothing. But the traumatic moment is emblematic of the trauma inflicted on the country by a  deep economic downturn that rivaled the Great Depression; Argentines dubbed it “La Crisis.”

 

Snatching poverty from the jaws of prosperity

For most of the 20th century, Argentina’s was the most prosperous and industrialized economy in Latin America, and virtually everyone who wanted a job could find one. Israeli agents managed to kidnap the fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann in 1960 simply by waiting for him to finish his shift at a Buenos Aires water plant. Then in 1991 — with the encouragement of the world’s two most powerful financial institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund — Argentina’s investor-friendly government decided to root out inflation by fixing the exchange rate of the local currency: one peso for one U.S. dollar.

People line up outside Norma Colque's home to fill their containers with free food. Colque, who gets food from the state to serve about 200 a day, says she has had to stretch the pasta and stew because twice as many people are lining up for food. Natacha Pisarenko | AP

Within two years, the peg had sharply curbed inflation, from an annual rate of 84 percent to one of 7.4 percent. But it also raised prices on locally produced goods, making Argentina’s products too expensive to sell abroad and goods shipped into the country artificially cheap. Brands made in Spain and the U.S. began to fly off the shelves and — much like the disillusioned, bankrupt protagonist of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises — Argentina went broke, “gradually at first, and then suddenly.”

In the postwar period, the country had never seen its unemployment rate rise above 4 percent; by the time of Albino’s self-immolation, it was 22 percent. The percentage of Argentines living in poverty soared to 56 percent, more than the previous peak by a factor of 10.

 

Recovery through isolation

But, beginning with the 2002 devaluation of the peso and President Nestor Kirchner’s default on nearly $100 billion in government loans the following year, Argentina’s economy began to recover. With less money leaving the country to buy foreign-made goods and pay foreign bondholders, more was available for investment and poverty relief; Argentina’s economy grew by an average of 8 percent a year for the next five years, and continued even after Kirchner died unexpectedly and was succeeded as head-of-state by his widow, Cristina, in 2010. As a result of its default, Argentina was a pariah in the capital markets but a quarter of the population put poverty in their rearview mirror.

 

Back into the debtor-nation buzzsaw: a lesson apparently not learned

But now Argentines are beginning to worry that La Crisis is returning. On May 8, President Mauricio Macri announced that he is seeking a credit line worth at least $19.7 billion from the IMF to fund the government through the end of his first term in late 2019. Days later, Argentina’s central bank announced it would raise interest rates to 40 percent — the highest in the world — to curb runaway inflation.

The return to the international financial system sent thousands of angry Argentines into the streets this month, some with signs declaring “enough of the IMF.” Retail sales contracted by 3 percent in April; consulting houses, like the London-based Capital Economics, predict high interest rates will tip Argentina into a recession this year. Workers are demanding higher wages, Macri’s popularity has plummeted, and some data suggests that many Argentines have returned to the custom of hiding dollars underneath their mattresses: dollar deposits in Argentine banks fell 2 percent between April 27 and May 14, according to data obtained by Reuters.

Protesters stand behind a barrier with a sign bearing a message for the FMI, the Spanish acronym for International Monetary Fund, during a protest in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 25, 2018. Victor R. Caivano | AP

Small-business owners like Maria Florencia Humano are closing for good. Unable to pay either the rent or the business loans she took out, she told Reuters that she has moved in with her sister to cut costs. Said Humano of Macri, who is the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families:

I voted for him. I made a bet and believed in him. Now I don’t believe anyone.”

What is unfolding in Argentina is the third act of a sovereign-debt crisis that began in the late 1970s after a military junta introduced neoliberal trade policies, Paul Cooney, an economist at the National University of General Sarmiento in Buenos Aires, told Mintpress. The military’s reforms were quite mild, however, compared to those implemented by Carlos Saul Menem, who was elected president in 1989 and went on to effectively dismantle the modern industrial state in Argentina — a country that boasted its living standards were more comparable to those of France than to any of its South American neighbors, save perhaps Chile. The Kirchners represented a return to Keynesian macroeconomic policies, but Macri has put the country back on the neoliberal path with policies that favor big agricultural producers inside the country, and investors both inside and outside of Argentina. Said Cooney:

The same thing is happening again. Industry has really worsened and Argentina is once again on the edge of a likely transformative recession.”

Macri campaigned to reverse the Kirchners’ trade policies, which have isolated the country from the global marketplace. He settled with the nation’s remaining creditors and last year issued $2.75 billion of dollar-denominated bonds with a 100-year maturity; investors snapped them up.

Macri’s free-market credentials earned him a 2017 invitation to the White House to meet U.S. President Donald Trump, who earlier this month on Twitter hailed the Argentine leader’s “vision for transforming his country’s economy.”

 

A contraction that only global investors could love

This economy is not identical to the depression that began in 1998, Cooney said. That downturn was grounded in the 1-to-1 peg between the dollar and the Argentine peso, which effectively took an elephant gun to inflation. But the central bank’s interest rate hikes exert the same contractionary pressures on the economy by drying up lending to households and small businesses in Argentina. Buying power declines, businesses have to lay off employees, and the government, grappling with a shrinking tax base, has to borrow to make ends meet. Argentina is saddled with more than $320 billion in external debt, equivalent to 57 percent of Gross Domestic Product, much of it denominated in dollars.

A woman looks up at a board showing the exchange rates between the Argentine peso and the U.S. dollar, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 15, 2018. Natacha Pisarenko | AP

French Supermarket chain Carrefour, which employs 19,000 people in Argentina, announced in April a plan to lay off an unspecified number of workers as part of a “crisis prevention plan.”

Eduardo Fernandez — head of an organization known by its Spanish acronym, APYME, which represents about 10,000 small firms nationwide — told Reuters that Argentina’s return to the IMF represents a failure of Macri’s economic policies, which are now clobbering mom-and-pop operators. He said:

With this rate increase, we can’t request credit; we are in a very difficult situation.”

Fabian Castillo, owner of a Buenos Aires shoe factory, told Reuters that with the cost of essentials like rent, food, and utilities rising, Argentines are simply doing without extras.

Anyone selling perfume, clothes or shoes is having a hard time getting to the end of the month.”

Whether through raising interest rates or pegging domestic currencies to the U.S. dollar, the objective is to reduce inflation, which is, to be sure, not good for anyone. Poor people hate to see higher prices for a loaf of bread or a bag of rice, but studies have shown that moderate levels of inflation don’t adversely impact economic growth. It does, however, impact profits, which is why financiers have been obsessed with inflation since the 1973 stagflation crisis in the U.S. that was driven by high wages and high commodity prices. Milton Friedman and his coterie of advisors from the University of Chicago — the Chicago Boys as they were famously dubbed — coaxed the dictator Augusto Pinochet to fix the exchange rate of the Chilean peso at 1.4 to the U.S. dollar in 1974, months after the General led a military coup that overthrew the Socialist president, Salvador Allende.

The country’s jobless rate climbed to 33 percent.

Today, Chileans of a certain age jokingly refer to the Chicago Boys derisively in Spanish as “Si, Cago, Voy,” which translates as “Yes, I shit, I go.

Top Photo | A demonstrator wearing a mask showing a detail of a U.S. dollar bill protests the government’s plans to make a deal with the IMF and increase the price of services such as gas and electricity in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 14, 2018. President Mauricio Macri announced that he will seek a financing deal with the IMF following a sharp devaluation of its currency. Natacha Pisarenko | AP

 Jon Jeter is a published book author and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist with more than 20 years of journalistic experience. He is a former Washington Post bureau chief and award-winning foreign correspondent on two continents, as well as a former radio and television producer for Chicago Public Media’s “This American Life.”

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

Save

EU Slams Pompeo’s Iran Strategy: It Won’t Make Region Safer From Nuclear Threat – By SPUTNIK

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) react during a plenary session at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015.

© REUTERS / Leonhard Foeger

World

Get short URL
28632

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s promise to slap the “strongest sanctions in history” on Tehran after Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has prompted an outcry from European officials.

The EU’s foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini, commenting on the possible unprecedented sanctions against Iran pledged by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has warned that there is “no alternative” to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal.

“Secretary Pompeo’s speech has not demonstrated how walking away from the JCPOA has made or will make the region safer from the threat of nuclear proliferation or how it puts us in a better position to influence Iran’s conduct in areas outside the scope of JCPOA,” Mogherini stressed.

READ MORE: Fate of Iran Nuclear Deal Lies With EU, Russia, China — Analysts

She recalled that the Iran nuclear deal is “the result of more than a decade of complex and delicate negotiations”, touting the JCPOA as “the best possible outcome, striking the right balance.”

“This deal belongs to the international community, having been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. The international community expects all sides to keep the commitments they made more than two years ago,” Mogherini pointed out.

READ MORE: Peace With a Price: Iran Promises EU to Adhere to Nuke Deal on One Condition

She also underscored Iran’s adherence to the JCPOA, reiterating that the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed ten times that Iran had delivered on “all its nuclear related commitments” in line with the deal.

UK: ‘Prospect of a New Jumbo Treaty’

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ summit in Argentina that the exit from the Iran nuclear deal would be a catastrophe.

While Johnson was quoted by Beijing as saying that the “sides should make efforts in order to let the deal live, the Chinese forein minister emphasized his country’s firm stance on the issue and affirmed readiness to work with all interested parties.

Just hours before Pompeo’s speech on Iran, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson declared that Washington’s plan to tighten the screws against the Islamic Republic won’t work.

“If you try now to fold all those issues — the ballistic missiles, Iran’s misbehavior, Iran’s disruptive activity in the region and the nuclear question — if you try to fold all those into a giant negotiation, I don’t see that being very easy to achieve, in anything like a reasonable timetable,” Johnson said.

He warned that after Washington’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal, “the prospect of a new jumbo Iran treaty is going to be very, very difficult.”

At the same time, he noted he is “not totally pessimistic about the situation.”

“In the end, there is a deal to be done that gives Iran a greater economic access to the West, but also constrains it. […] I think in the end, we will get back to the kind of additions to the JCPOA that we initially envisaged, but it may take a long time,” Johnson underlined.

Germany: ‘No Surprise’

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, for his part, said that Berlin had “taken into account the US position” and that “it did not come as surprise.”

He recalled that during his visit to Washington later this week, he will meet with Pompeo to discuss the issue.

READ MORE: ‘Concrete Decisions’: Europe Faces Up to Trump Amid Iran Nuclear Deal Row

“The situation has not changed for us. During its summit in Sofia, the EU gave a unified signal that we want to keep the Iran nuclear deal,” Maas pointed out.

He warned that “without this agreement we could run the risk that Iran could restart a nuclear program.”

Iran: ‘Unlawful Threats’

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has in turn used stern language when commenting on Pompeo’s speech.

“Iran rejects the allegations and lies in this so-called new strategy and condemns the US Secretary of State’s […] open interference in its internal affairs and the unlawful threats against a United Nations member state,” the Ministry said in a statement.

The statement described Pompeo’s remarks as a “naïve attempt” to divert the international community’s attention away from Washington’s violation of the JCPOA.

READ MORE: The End of Petrodollar Era? How Trump’s Iran Deal Undermines the Dollar

According to the statement, “the US government will be responsible for the consequences of any persecution as well as unlawful and violent actions against the Iranian nation.”

“The insignificant, insulting and secondary remarks of the new US Secretary of State and his unacceptable attitude to the great and civilized Iranian nation testify to the US government officials’ despair and helpless stance on the Iranians,” the statement read.

Washington’s New Iran Strategy

In his speech “After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy” at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Pompeo pledged that the US would apply unprecedented financial pressure on Tehran via sanctions.

READ MORE: Why European Signatories Are Not Ready to Exit From Iran Deal

Warning that the “sting of sanctions” will not ease until Iran changes its course, Pompeo made it clear that the new sanctions will be the “strongest in history” and will make Tehran battle to “keep its economy alive.”

He warned that any entity conducting business with Tehran would be “held to account” by the US, voicing hope that the new anti-Iranian sanctions will be met with support from US allies beyond Europe.In early May President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, in a move that sparked a cold snap in Washington’s ties with its European allies and co-signatories to the deal, including the European Union, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Iran, Russia, and China.

Ecuador hints it may hand over Julian Assange to Britain and the US – By James Cogan – (WSWS)

statue-of-liberty-new-york-ny-nyc-60121.jpeg

By James Cogan
12 May 2018

Julian Assange is in immense danger. Remarks made this week by Ecuador’s foreign minister suggest that her government may be preparing to renege on the political asylum it granted to the WikiLeaks editor in 2012 and hand him over to British and then American authorities.

On March 28, under immense pressure from the governments in the US, Britain and other powers, Ecuador imposed a complete ban on Assange having any Internet or phone contact with the outside world, and blocked his friends and supporters from physically visiting him. For 45 days, he has not been heard from.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa stated in a Spanish-language interview on Wednesday that her government and Britain “have the intention and the interest that this be resolved.” Moves were underway, she said, to reach a “definite agreement” on Assange.

If Assange falls into the hands of the British state, he faces being turned over to the US. Last year, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that putting Assange on trial for espionage was a “priority.” CIA director Mike Pompeo, now secretary of state, asserted that WikiLeaks was a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”

In 2010, WikiLeaks courageously published information leaked by then Private Bradley [now Chelsea] Manning that exposed war crimes committed by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. WikiLeaks also published, in partnership with some of the world’s major newspapers, tens of thousands of secret diplomatic cables, exposing the daily anti-democratic intrigues of US imperialism and numerous other governments.

For that, Assange was relentlessly persecuted by the Obama administration. By November 2010, it had convened a secret grand jury and had a warrant issued for his arrest on charges of espionage—charges that can carry the death sentence. The then Labor Party government in Australia headed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard threw Assange, an Australian citizen, to the wolves. It refused to provide him any defence and declared it would work with the US to have him detained and put on trial.

On June 19, 2012, under conditions in which he faced extradition to Sweden to answer questions over fabricated allegations of sexual assault, and the prospect of rendition to the United States, Assange sought asylum in the Ecuador’s embassy in London.

Since that time, for nearly six years, he has been largely confined to a small room with no direct sunlight. He has been prevented from leaving, even to obtain medical treatment, by the British government’s insistence it will arrest him for breaching bail as soon as he sets foot outside the embassy.

Now, for six weeks and three days, he has been denied even the right to communicate.

Jennifer Robinson, the British-based Australian lawyer who has represented Assange since 2010, told the London Times in an interview this month: “His health situation is terrible. He’s had a problem with his shoulder for a very long time. It requires an MRI [magnetic resonance imaging scan], which cannot be done within the embassy. He’s got dental issues. And then there’s the long-term impact of not being outside, his visual impairment. He wouldn’t be able to see further than from here to the end of this hallway.”

The effort to haul Assange before a US court is inseparable from the broader campaign underway by the American state and allied governments to impose sweeping censorship on the Internet. Lurid allegations of “Russian meddling” in the 2016 US election and denunciations of “fake news” have been used to demand that Google, Facebook and other conglomerates block users from accessing websites that publish critical commentary and exposures of the ruling class and its agencies—including WikiLeaks and the World Socialist Web Site.

WikiLeaks has been absurdly denounced as “pro-Russia” because it published leaks from the US Democratic Party National Committee that revealed the anti-democratic intrigues the party’s leaders carried out to undermine the campaign of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary elections. It also published leaked speeches of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that further exposed her intimate relations with Wall Street banks and companies.

As part of the justification for Internet censorship, US intelligence agencies allege, without any evidence, that the information was hacked by Russian operatives and supplied to WikiLeaks to undermine Clinton and assist Trump—whom Moscow purportedly considered the “lesser evil.”

In response to the hysterical allegations, WikiLeaks broke its own tradition of not commenting on its sources. It publicly denied that Russia was the source of the leaks. That has not prevented the campaign from continuing, with Assange even being labelled “the Kremlin’s useful idiot” in pro-Democratic Party circles. WikiLeaks is blamed for Clinton’s defeat, not the reality, that tens of millions of American workers were repulsed by her right-wing, pro-war campaign and refused to vote for her.

Under conditions in which the Ecuadorian government has capitulated to great power pressure and is collaborating with British and US agencies to break Julian Assange, there is an almost universal and reprehensible silence on the part of dozens of organisations and hundreds of individuals who once claimed to defend him and WikiLeaks.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which in February 2016 condemned Assange’s persecution as “a form of arbitrary detention” and called for his release, has issued no statement on his current situation.

In Britain, the Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn have said nothing on the actions by Ecuador. Nor have they opposed the determination of the Conservative government to arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy.

In Australia, the current Liberal-National government and Labor leadership are just as complicit. The Greens, which claimed to oppose the persecution of Assange, have not made any statement in parliament or issued a press release, let alone called for public protests. Hundreds of editors, journalists, academics, artists and lawyers across the country who publicly defended WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011 are now mute.

A parallel situation prevails across Europe and in the US. The so-called parties of the “left” and the trade unions are all tacitly endorsing the vicious drive against Assange.

Around the world, the Stalinist and Pabloite pseudo-left organisations, anxious not to disrupt their sordid relations with the parties of the political establishment and the trade union apparatuses, are likewise silent.

The World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International unconditionally defend Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. If the ruling elite can haul him before a court, it will hold him up as an example of what happens to those who speak out against social inequality, militarism, war and police-state measures. His prosecution would be used to try to intimidate and silence all dissent.

If Assange is imprisoned or worse, and WikiLeaks shut down, it will be a serious blow to the democratic rights of the entire international working class.

Workers and young people should join with the WSWS and ICFI in demanding and fighting for the immediate freedom of Julian Assange.

AT LAST! ZIONIST RODENTS STRUCK HARD BY SYRIA AND IRAN; HOMS ALMOST RAT-FREE! – By Ziad fadel

دفاعاتنا الجوية تتصدى لعدوان إسرائيلي بالصواريخ وتسقط العشرات منها

We have all been sickened by the somewhat lackluster way Syria has reacted to past violations of its airspace by the Zionist Apartheid State.  We have heard, ad nauseam, the repeated promises to retaliate “at the time and place we choose”.  Well, this time it was quite different.

I waited a few days to let the dust settle so I could get a more detailed image of what happened exactly.  My source in Damascus, Monzer, sent me some information he was able to glean from his contacts.  The Zionist statements appear to be just a lot of hooey right now.  As usual, they don’t provide accurate information about their losses and they don’t permit coverage of funerals of their soldiers killed in action.

On our side, we can confirm the deaths of 3 soldiers, 2 of whom were non-Syrian.  Another 2 were wounded.  A radar installation was struck and destroyed.  A warehouse filled with weapons was also hit with minor damage to about 4 air defense positions.

According to both Russian news sources quoting the Ministry of Defense, over one-half of the 60 rockets fired from 28 F-15 and F-16 bombers and 10 tactical ground-based missiles were intercepted and destroyed.  According to Monzer, most of the rockets that were not intercepted did not hit their targets.

موسكو: الدفاعات السورية اسقطت أكثر من نصف الصواريخ الإسرائيلية

We were all disappointed to read that Russian President Vladimir Putin has delayed the delivery of the S-300 air defense system to Syria after meeting with the Zionist gangster, Benny Mileikowski (a/k/a Netanyahu).  I cannot speculate on what is in Mr. Putin’s head or what the neo-Nazi slug told him.  I can tell you that the upgraded air defense systems in Syria are working very well.

It is obvious to all of us that Iran’s reaction to the airstrike on the Tiyaas Airbase which killed about 7 of its military advisors last week was a test of Tehran’s resolve.  We were not disappointed.  Iran and Syria fired over 20 ground-based rockets at Zionist positions on the Golan Heights.  The rockets hit a surveillance facility killing all 4 Zionist terrorists inside with 2 being from the Zionist Druze community in northern Palestine.  The rockets also hit directly an early detection radar station with no data on casualties.  Other missiles were aimed at a tank battalion.  There were many killed or wounded in the Syrian rocket attack.

We know this from reports coming from villagers on the Golan who saw and heard over 50 ambulances rushing to the scenes of destruction and the whirs of helicopters medvac-ing the casualties out of the area.  Unlike what the MSM reports here in the West, the Zionists took a big hit in this one when they were least expecting it.  They appear to be genuinely surprised that the Syrian government permitted the armed forces of Iran and their own to retaliate for the attack on the T-4 base in Homs.  It is quite possible that Mileikowski was assured by Mr. Putin that no such retaliation would take place.

__________________________________________________

HOMS:

At Al-Rastan and Al-Kafaat, 50 buses, some green and some white, picked up the 4th tranche of terrorist cockroaches to transport them to northern rat-infested Syria.  The same is happening at Talbeesa.  Homs is about to be declared terrorist-free. We hope they all make it to Europe.

__________________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Alexander J. Ajay sent me this analysis of what happened on the Golan:

https://southfront.org/summing-up-facts-and-versions-syrian-israeli-encounter-last-night/

Kevin Hester sends RT’s take on the event:

https://www.rt.com/news/426328-israel-28-jets-syria/

A debate between a true Syrian girl and a lying rodent who doesn’t know the first thing about Syria: (From Tim Anderson):

https://www.albawaba.com/news/how-syrians-talk-about-assad-zaina-erhaim-vs-partisan-girl-1127702

Elijah J. Magnier analyzes the new ROA on the Golan Heights:

https://ejmagnier.com/2018/05/10/iran-breaks-the-rules-of-engagement-israel-takes-its-revenge-and-syria-and-iran-impose-the-golan-equation/https://ejmagnier.com/2018/05/10/iran-breaks-the-rules-of-engagement-israel-takes-its-revenge-and-syria-and-iran-impose-the-golan-equation/

%d bloggers like this: